July 8, 2021
We cannot believe we have just wrapped up our second session on the island. What a time it has been getting to know this group! Our last couple of days were the best ones yet! This group has truly embodied what it means to “live in the moment”. We are so sad to see them go, but we know they will never forget the friends, memories, and laughs here!
On Monday, we started our last morning of service work. The kids were so excited to see Ekolo again and what he had in store! At his house we witnessed surfers in the “Shark Pit” which is the wave behind the house. Surfers showed up in droves to take advantage of the big swell. Ekolu gave the kids a hands on experience so they could grow a connection to the reefs and land we are working to protect. He taught the kids about marine species and let them snorkel right out of his backyard! They took underwater clipboards and began exploring. With these clipboards they recorded what species of fish they saw and how many. We then took a walk down the beach as Ekolu taught us about the composition in the sand and how the lava flows shaped the island. Ekolo also taught them about the meaning of Aloha. It much more than just hello and goodbye, it is a practice of showing compassion.
Afterwards, we let the kids explore the town of Lahaina! They were so excited to have freedom to roam and sight see. Porter was extra excited because he has been asking to see the town all week. The kids enjoyed local food in town and went to different shops to explore what Lahaina had to offer. Garner and Harry roamed through the stores for the perfect T-shirts to rock at home. While Sara Frances and Porter walked away with some cool ukuleles.
We came back for dinner and enjoyed quality time together. Hardy has been in the kitchen all week, so we trusted him to cook dinner for the group. It was delicious as he showed off his knowledge of spices! He made pasta with chicken and red sauce. We ended dinner with Elisabeth’s famous smore’s dip, an all time favorite. The kids enjoyed the desert to finish a fun day of learning about Maui and exploring the town. Our LODS, Harry and Anna, led the group in meaningful Moonup.
On our last full day, we woke up early excited to shred some waves! We enjoyed standing up but also falling off the waves. Ella and Porter shared a party wave and you could see the excitement of their accomplishment. The kids were tired from the trip but still managed to squeeze out every last bit of surfing they could. Billy showed off all of his skills as he took wave after wave the whole morning. It was a relaxing day on the water with few surf schools around us. Sammy had a good eye and was quick to point out the turtles around and below us as we waited for the next swell.
Following a fun morning on the water, we headed to the town of Haiku to celebrate our banquet. We decided to check out a local food truck called “Island Tacos”. The kids enjoyed getting to try some of the local fish and shrimp. We were able to snag a table allowing the group join in on conversation and laughs. Everyone was impressed with the food and we headed back to camp to prepare for the excursion to Haleakala National Park, known as the quietest national park.
To top off the best day ever, we ended it at the top of Haleakala, which is over 10,000 ft tall in total. The drive up the mountain is almost just as exciting as the summit itself! Once we arrived at the top, we sat in awe at the view in front of us. Campbell remarked how beautiful the sunset was and that she didn’t want to leave it. The clouds are so close it feels as if you can reach out and grab them. As leaders, this is our favorite place to send the kids off before they go home. It was an amazing way to reflect on the past two weeks and the friendships we have made. Leena shared how happy she was the group had become so close so quickly, and that it was going to be hard to leave everyone. We shared stories, laughs, and memories while watching the sun set over the island.
What an amazing way to end the trip! We came down the mountain jamming out the whole way. We had our last official Moonup, led by Ella and Hardy. It was such a joy to discuss all we have learned and what we were excited to take back home with us. We think the kids have newfound leadership in their abilities to take on any challenge they will meet going forward.
For our final day, we cleaned up camp and said our goodbyes. After we finished packing, we hit Paia for lunch. The kids enjoyed açaí bowls, poke bowls, and pizza for their last meal. We headed to the airport with tears in our eyes but thankful for the most incredible two weeks of our lives.
Thank you all again for sharing your kids with us. We look forward to the future and seeing where life takes them. We know it will be far and wide! Maui has been an amazing ride and we wish we could do it all over again with these kiddos. We hope to hear from you soon and glad that you could join us on this journey.
Until we meet again,
Sidney, Miles, and Lillian
July 5, 2021
Happy 4th of July to all! We have had so much fun over the past few days and are sad to be entering the final part of our trip. What a time it has been! We love this group and can’t wait to soak up & enjoy the rest of the trip.
Starting on Friday, we had our very favorite day – Redline Rafting Snorkel Tour. We woke up early and headed to the boat ramp. We got on a boat excited to explore all of Maui’s hidden gems. Our outfitters provided cinnamon rolls and fruit which hit the spot. We started at the Molokini Crater and snorkeled in clear water. It is one of the coolest spots we see on the trip. The kids got to see some of the coolest reef and fish in the world! Hardy showed off his diving skills here by diving down deep with Miles, our professional free diver. Next, we stopped at a spot called “the elevator”, in the back of Molokini. Porter and Garner had so much fun swimming in this spot, they did not want to leave. After this, we stopped at La Perouse Bay and enjoyed watching people surf the big waves. Billy saw an octopus and barracuda here and it was the highlight of his day. Next, we headed over to Turtle Town and snorkeled with the turtles. Campbell has been so excited to see turtles and saw many here and we were so happy for her. Finally, we ate some lunch on the boat and headed back to the van for the rest of the day.
To continue, we beach hopped started at Big Beach. It is known for its gigantic waves. Leena and Anna enjoyed laying out here and getting some sun, while watching the waves. Next, we hit up Kahana Beach Park. The kids loved this spot, because we had previously windsurfed there. Tired and sunkissed, we headed back to camp for a big dinner. Elisabeth helped us cook Mac and cheese, asparagus, hot dogs, and beans. She is truly a star in the kitchen! We finished out the night with an amazing Moonup led by our LODs Elisabeth and Sammy where the kids shared what they are most grateful for. All of them mentioned their families!
On Saturday, we started our first day of service. The kids were so positive and excited to get their hands in the dirt. We met our guide, Ekolo, who is a native Hawaiian and is in charge of Maui Cultural Lands. He taught them about the practices of Hawaiian culture and land preservation. They weeded invasive species on one of Maui’s most sacred lands. Harry was so eager to work and asked so many great questions. Ekolo really appreciated all of their hard work.
Afterwards, we hit a local park and had a picnic lunch. We quickly changed and headed to another popular spot known as “Cliffhouse”. The kids were so excited to get to jump off some fun cliffs. Ella and Sara Frances were the first to go in with absolutely no fear. It was so much fun to watch them have fun! Next, we treated the kids to ice-cream to finish off the perfect day. We headed back to camp and made grilled cheese and tomato soup- a fan favorite. We had Moonup led by Campbell and Garner and then went to bed early for some good night sleep!
We woke up bright and early ready to celebrate the 4th with pancakes. The kids were so excited to start the festivities. We decorated the van with red and blue streamers and listened to “Party in the USA” on repeat. For the first part of the day, we did service work for the Marine Institute. We collected trash in a field and learned about the effects it has on marine life. It was awesome to see the kids so engaged! They got to tally how many pieces they got, which made it a pretty eye-opening experience to see how much trash there is in just one spot. Afterwards, we had lunch at the beach and got to learn more from our instructors about the effects of plastic. To finish up our service project, we got a tour of the MOC. They showed us sea turtles and corals that are currently in rehabilitation.
We headed back to camp to surprise the kids with our 4th of July activities! They got ready and we headed over to another group’s campsite for a cookout/ game night. They were so excited to see so many other kids. We played some of our favorite games such as birdy on a perch and Ronald McDonald. We even had a watermelon contest that Garner and Campbell participated in. We picked up chicken bbq from a local restaurant and ate while watching the sunset. All of the groups joined together for dancing and watching fireworks from the hill. Leena and Porter wrapped up the night by leading Moonup. It was truly such a fun night!
As always, mahalo for allowing us to experience this with your children- we are loving every minute of it! We are so sad to see this adventure coming to a close but are so grateful for the experiences we’ve had! All to say, they wanted to give y’all a shoutout!
Sidney, Miles, and Lillian
Porter – Hey Mom and Dad it’s Porter I can’t wait to see you guys in Victory Ranch
Hardy – having fun miss you guys.
Leena – Hey mom and dad. I’m having so much fun see you all soon!
Garner- hey mom and dad Maui is fun
Harry- hi mom and dad miss y’all see you soon. i’m having a great time!
Sara Frances -Hi, I miss y’all! I will see you soon. the trip is great!
Ella – Hey Dad and Jennifer, we listened to Starting Over in the car the other day and I thought about y’all! Mom and Scott, Maui is the most amazing place ever! I’m so excited to tell y’all everything when I get home!
Elisabeth – Hey fam! Having so much fun in Maui see you soon!
Anna – Hey mom and dad! I love and miss you guys. I’m having the best time ever! I will see you guys soon.
Sammy – Hey mom and dad how are you guys. I’m having a great time here and I miss you guys.
Billy – Hey mom and dad, how’s Michigan? Maui is great! Love you.
Campbell- hey mom, fi, nolan and dad!! Love and miss you. See you soon!!
July 2, 2021
Good morning mainland,
We have had so much fun over the last few days! It has been a blast getting to know each other and go into the last week of the trip. We can’t believe how fast it is going by. Our adventures have truly been amazing. We are so excited to see everything the island has to offer!
The forth day of our trip started off with yogurt parfaits for breakfast. Our LODs Hardy and Anna got the group excited and ready for the day during our morning huddle. Then we hopped in the car and headed to the coast for our first day of surfing. The kids were beaming with excitement, even after the early wake up call. The conditions were absolutely perfect as we paddled out to the shore break. Our group was greeted by five sea turtles who decided to hang out with us for the rest of the morning. Billy was the first to catch a wave and he was met by cheers from the whole group. Sara Frances, Harry and Garner caught on quick then took their new skills out further to surf the bigger waves. We finished the morning out with a massive party wave back to shore. It is safe to say— surfing might be the kids new favorite thing.
After drying off, we headed to the local farmers market for some fresh lunch. The group walked away with fresh açaí bowls, smoothies, and sandwiches. Elisabeth was most excited about her giant watermelon and head of fresh butter lettuce. It honestly looked so delicious. With full bellies the group hopped back in the car to go explore the Nakalele Blowhole. The natural phenomenon on the Northwest tip of the island is one of the most beautiful points on Maui because you can look out for miles and only see the deep blue ocean waves. Ella, Leena, and Campbell made sure to take a long moment to sit on the rocks to take in all the beauty together!
As we headed back home the group decided to stop by the beach to jump in and hang out before heading back to camp for dinner. As the sun was getting lower in the sky we could see the light blue water reflecting back at us. This invited fun conversations among the whole group. At camp we ended out the spectacular day with chicken kabobs, veggies, rice and some snickerdoodle cookies our LODs selected. We had our Moonup under the stars once again then went straight to sleep since the kids were all exhausted.
The group woke up to the smell of fresh pancakes and a strong breeze on Wednesday morning. They were teeming with excitement since we were heading to the water once again, but this time to Windsurf! Maui is known as the Mecca for windsurfing and people travel from all over to get a taste of the sport. After a short demonstration on the beach, we all set sail. Sammy was the first out on the waves and impressed the whole group. Elisabeth and Sara must have snuck in lessons before coming to Maui because they were absolute naturals on the boards. We played in the waves for a couple of hours and it was probably the most fun morning of the trip.
We headed back to camp to make lunch and hang before we trekked into the mountains to hike and explore. Hardy led us down the trail into a valley where we discovered these miraculous caves and irrigation tunnels high in the cliff face. A chicken, who Leena and Sidney named Chicken Joe, decided to follow us as we continued to explore. It felt like we were in another world. We hiked out and headed back into camp for a delicious curry chicken dinner. Our LODs Sammy and Campbell led the group in a hilarious Moonup. Porter’s impression of the windsurf instructors had us laughing all night.
We woke up for day seven fully rested and excited. It was nice getting to sleep in a little after so many early mornings! We enjoyed some bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on English muffins for breakfast. Hardy helped us cook this morning, and has never missed an opportunity to help out in the kitchen. Once we were all fueled up, we headed up the famous Hana Highway for rainforest canyon rappelling. Its scenery makes it our best drive of the trip. Once we got to the Garden of Eden, we met our guides and got ready for our adventure. The spots we went to have been featured in the original Jurassic Park. Our guides, Jack, Sam, and Abbie showed us how it is done and made it look easy for the first cliff. Ella went down with no fear with her Go-Pro attached to her helmet and made sure to get everyone on film. The next rappel was down a much steeper slope, but everyone made it look easy. This one ended in a swimming hole with a waterfall on one side. It was fun getting to see everyone descend and jump in the water. We did one last rappel down a big waterfall into another swimming hole. It was such a fun activity for the kids to experience something new and conquer a few fear of heights. As we packed up and left, we also got to see many peacocks, ducks, and chickens roaming around the garden.
We went back to camp to relax and make dinner after a long day! The girls took to the basketball courts to listen to music, hang out and even dance for a bit. While the boys explored the gardens and grounds of our campsite. For dinner Ella, Elisabeth and Anna made the best pizza bagels for the group. They were a huge hit and finished our feast with some ice cream Sundays. Garner and Sara Frances closed out our night with Moonup, then we all headed to bed for an early wakeup call tomorrow morning.
We are looking forward to the rest of our trip because we know it will be amazing. Thank you guys for sharing your kids with us in Maui we are having the time of our lives. This group has already gotten close, and we are so impressed. As always, stay safe and have fun, we know we will!
Lillian, Miles and Sidney
June 29, 2021
Aloha family and friends!
We are off to a running start here in Maui on our Hawaiian adventure! Airport day was a huge success thanks to all of your diligence and patience with the Safe Travels details! We have the most incredible group and we are so stoked to see all that these next two weeks will bring.
Our first full day in Maui started out with a splash! The kids woke up early so we were able to make them a Moondance specialty breakfast called “the Davis”. The delicious roasted cinnamon apples, granola, peanut butter and honey was the perfect sweet treat to wake us up. Once we were full our LOD’s Elisabeth and Harry led the group in a morning huddle to set the tone for the day.
Then we jumped in the car, turned on “Walking on a Dream” by Empire of the Sun and made a beeline for the beach. The conditions were perfect. It was sunny, breezy and the waves were perfect for body surfing. Porter and Leena were the first two to run into the blue water. We had the greatest time watching all the kids roll, body surf and splash all morning. On the beach, we got a fun round of spike ball going then we rinsed off and set up for a picnic lunch. Ella and Anna were so helpful and picked the perfect spot for our spread.
After a visit from the cutest Island puppy named Abby, we headed to the Maui mountains for an afternoon of zip lining through the jungle. Campbell showed no fear, as she was the first one down the zip every time. The views were magnificent. With wind-blown hair and big smiles we made our way back to camp satisfied that we got to fly through the trees. Elisabeth, Billy and Sammy killed it on cook crew and made the group the best taco bar for dinner. We ended our night with multiple games of “Candy Man” at our campsite, which might become a new favorite among the group. Then we stargazed for a while before gathering together for our first official Moonup.
The next morning, we rose with the sun, as we headed down to coast for a morning of kayaking and snorkeling. The group set sail with the help of our outfitter, Griff, who taught us all about Hawaiian phrases, Maui’s history and then directed us to the perfect spot to find sea turtles. Billy showed off his kayaking expertise as he glided off the shore into the ocean’s waves. Once we anchored down, Sara Frances was a natural as she swam around and explored the reefs depths. Hardy spotted the first turtle and guided the rest of the group to his spot. It was a perfect morning and with a group as fun as this we never stopped laughing the whole time.
After rinsing off we headed back to camp to eat lunch, change and prepare for our afternoon planting activity at Pono Grown Farms. The farm is owned by Evan Ryan who is a famous permaculture farmer in Hawaii. He graciously allowed our group to come to his farm and learn all about Maui and help him out with some fun activities. Our group did everything from watering avocado trees, planting tomatoes, picking and cleaning ginger and seeing how he makes his honey. Evan ended the visit with a tour of his farm where the group asked him every question under the sun. It was a great change of pace and we all left very grateful for the experience. The group finished the night with chicken pesto pasta and rosemary garlic bread. Then our LOD’s Billy and Ella led the group Moonup to close out the night.
The forth day of our trip started early with some oatmeal and fresh fruit. Porter and Leena, our LOD’s led the morning huddle and got the group prepared for another amazing day in Maui. We hopped in the van and headed to the coast to Stand Up Paddle board! The group was excited to hit the waves. Garner was the first on to grab a board and go!
The rest of the group was not far behind as we quickly made our way past the wave break. Once again we were surrounded by sea turtles— it was the coolest thing! The kids had a blast exploring the coastline and trying something new. We came back to camp to eat lunch and play some games. When we were ready, the group headed into Iao Valley State Park to explore the beautiful jungle and mountains. Sammy helped led the group through the dense jungle trails to some fresh water pools. Porter had the best time swimming around in the clear water. Our day ended back at camp when we ate a Moondance classic dinner called “Tommy Sauce Noodles”. The group absolutely loved it. Our night closed with a Moonup under the stars.
We absolutely love this group of kids and we are so excited to see our journey unfold over the coming days!
Lillian, Sidney and Miles
June 26, 2021
Hello Maui 2C Families!
The group arrived safely in Kahului last night, and they are off on their adventure! One more student is arriving late tonight and they are all excited to greet her! We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!